Archive for July 1st, 2009

I’m back and bearing 17th c. navel lint!

Wednesday, July 1st, 2009

I figured after all this time I couldn’t just show up empty handed, so I come bearing a blog-warming gift: a 17th century bottle filled with urine, hair and nails. Just what you wanted, amirite?

It was found buried upside down in Greenwich, and is the most complete known example of a “witch bottle”, a device meant to combat witchcraft.

Its contents match a recipe in a late 17th c. Old Bailey court document given from an apothecary to a husband concerned that his wife had gone witchy.

Other witch bottles have been found before, but they were uncorked and their contents degraded. This one is still fully intact and packed with anti-witchcraft goodies.

CT scans and chemical analysis, along with gas chromatography conducted by Richard Cole of the Leicester Royal Infirmary, reveal the contents of the bottle to include human urine, brimstone, 12 iron nails, eight brass pins, hair, possible navel fluff, a piece of heart-shaped leather pierced by a bent nail, and 10 fingernail clippings. […]

The urine contained nicotine, so a smoker produced it. Since the fingernails showed little wear, Massey believes the individual was “of some social standing.”

So you see you can’t say I never gave you nuthin’. Navel lint and fingernail clippings for all!

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